After the Raid: FBI and CIA support Kuwait on Bush plot

WHEN Kuwait said it had smashed a plot to kill the former US president George Bush, few took it seriously. Its credibility was low after it had claimed some Iraqi fishermen were an invasion force. The amateurism of the would-be assassins seemed to argue against the involvement of Iraqi intelligence. And why had Baghdad done so little to conceal its role, given that the US would inevitably retaliate against it if the plot was discovered?

But evidence gathered by the FBI and CIA shows the plan to kill Mr Bush occurred very much as the Kuwaitis said it had. The same person or persons had assembled the bomb inside the Toyota Land-Cruiser as had built previous Iraqi bombs.

The alleged ringleaders were Raad al-Assadi and Wali Abdel- hadi al-Ghazali, both Iraqis and an unlikely pair of assassins. Mr Assadi, 33, is a cafe owner from Basra but, according to his evidence at the trial, which continued yesterday, his real profession was smuggling. He was recruited on 9 April as a guide for the mission but said he did not know the target was Mr Bush. He said his main interest in going with Mr Ghazali to Kuwait was to smuggle five cases of Scotch whisky provided by Iraqi intelligence.

Mr Ghazali, 36, was a nurse from Basra who said he originally tried to dissuade Iraqi intelligence from recruiting him because his wife was in hospital and he had five children. 'They told me no Iraqi could turn down such an honourable mission.' He was given dollars 1,300 (pounds 880) and a pistol.

In Basra on 12 April, Iraqi intelligence officials gave Mr Assadi and Mr Ghazali forged United Arab Emirates passports and the Toyota, which had explosives in the door panels. The FBI said the circuitry, plastic explosives and remote-controlled detonator were all of a pattern seen before in Iraqi bombs. Mr Ghazali also received a belt with explosives which, if all else failed, he was to use as a suicide bomb to kill Mr Bush.

But the Toyota was expected to be the main instrument for the assassination. Mr Ghazali, Mr Assadi and others were to drive it to Kuwait University, where Mr Bush was to appear with the Emir of Kuwait in honour of his leadership in the Gulf war. They would park near the motorcade route; Mr Ghazali would move 400 metres from the Toyota and blow it up by remote control. If the detonator failed, the bomb would be exploded by a timing device.

The plot began to unravel the moment the would-be assassins crossed the border. Mr Ghazali said he was so frightened that 'I began praying as soon as I reached Kuwait'. Mr Assadi was more confident in court but said that as soon as he crossed the border, he buried 10 sticks of dynamite given him by Iraqi intelligence. They hid the Toyota in a sheep-pen but the police, who said they learnt about the plot in March, surrounded it.

Mr Ghazali and three others stole a car to escape and when it broke down they started to walk across the desert, where they were seen and arrested.

(Photograph omitted)

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Life and Style
Powdered colors are displayed for sale at a market ahead of the Holi festival in Bhopal, India
techHere's what you need to know about the riotous occasion
Arts and Entertainment
Larry David and Rosie Perez in ‘Fish in the Dark’
theatreReview: Had Fish in the Dark been penned by a civilian it would have barely got a reading, let alone £10m advance sales
News
Details of the self-cleaning coating were published last night in the journal Science
science
News
Approved Food sell products past their sell-by dates at discounted prices
i100
News
Life-changing: Simone de Beauvoir in 1947, two years before she wrote 'The Second Sex', credited as the starting point of second wave feminism
peopleHer seminal feminist polemic, The Second Sex, has been published in short-form to mark International Women's Day
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Finance Assistant / Credit Controller

£16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They are an award-winning digit...

Ashdown Group: Senior VMware Platform Engineer - VMware / SAN / Tier3 DC

£45000 - £55000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior VMware Platform En...

Recruitment Genius: Purchasing Assistant

£10000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A distributor of specialist ele...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Ledger Assistant

£17000 - £19000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A distributor of specialist ele...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans campaign: Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after £300,000 gift from Lloyds Bank

Homeless Veterans campaign

Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after huge gift from Lloyds Bank
Flight MH370 a year on: Lost without a trace – but the search goes on

Lost without a trace

But, a year on, the search continues for Flight MH370
Germany's spymasters left red-faced after thieves break into brand new secret service HQ and steal taps

Germany's spy HQ springs a leak

Thieves break into new €1.5bn complex... to steal taps
International Women's Day 2015: Celebrating the whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Simone de Beauvoir's seminal feminist polemic, 'The Second Sex', has been published in short-form for International Women's Day
Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Why would I want to employ someone I’d be happy to have as my boss, asks Simon Kelner
Confessions of a planespotter: With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent

Confessions of a planespotter

With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent. Sam Masters explains the appeal
Russia's gulag museum 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities

Russia's gulag museum

Ministry of Culture-run site 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities
The big fresh food con: Alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay

The big fresh food con

Joanna Blythman reveals the alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay
Virginia Ironside was my landlady: What is it like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7?

Virginia Ironside was my landlady

Tim Willis reveals what it's like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7
Paris Fashion Week 2015: The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp

Paris Fashion Week 2015

The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp
8 best workout DVDs

8 best workout DVDs

If your 'New Year new you' regime hasn’t lasted beyond February, why not try working out from home?
Paul Scholes column: I don't believe Jonny Evans was spitting at Papiss Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible

Paul Scholes column

I don't believe Evans was spitting at Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible
Miguel Layun interview: From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

Miguel Layun is a star in Mexico where he was criticised for leaving to join Watford. But he says he sees the bigger picture
Frank Warren column: Amir Khan ready to meet winner of Floyd Mayweather v Manny Pacquiao

Khan ready to meet winner of Mayweather v Pacquiao

The Bolton fighter is unlikely to take on Kell Brook with two superstar opponents on the horizon, says Frank Warren
War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable